1. Be Vegetable-Centric, Let the Veggies Shine
You can increase the portion size of vegetables on your dishes and even feature them as center-of-the plate stars. Eggplant, Portobello mushrooms and many root vegetables are hearty enough (and versatile enough) to constitute an entire entrée. Plus, you can reduce red meat portions—which saves you money. Be sure your menu descriptions play up the big, bold flavors.
2. Make a Protein Flip
Consider reducing the portion size of red meat in your dishes. The Culinary Institute of America calls this practice, “The Protein Flip.” It’s not only nutritionally beneficial to cut back on meat, but it also helps create a more sustainable earth.
3. Be Sneaky
Don’t be afraid to “hide” healthy additions such as spinach in your sauces or soups. You can also substitute better-for you ingredients such as vegetable “noodles” for pasta or lettuce instead of tortillas as wraps. And most guests won’t notice when you use a low-sodium product instead of the traditional counterpart.
4. Serve Up Super Foods
There has been an increase in consumers who want “functional foods.” Between 2011 and 2015 there was a phenomenal 202% increase globally in the number of food and drink products launched containing the terms “superfood,” “super fruit,” or “super grain.”* You can take advantage of this trend to enhance your healthy offerings by including more of these ingredients such as, quinoa, blue berries, kale, salmon, chia seeds, green tea, broccoli and various beans.
5. Be Bold
To entice customers, you can add big, indulgent flavors to dishes that may otherwise be thought of as healthy. For example, a small amount of sautéed chopped chorizo will make a kale lover out of anyone.
You can take advantage of recent ethnic trends and use global flavors and traditional techniques to offer intense flavors and veggie forward dishes.
6. Be Aware of Presentation
Think about offering smaller portion sizes and adding larger, healthier sides—make sides the center. And you can serve them in their own containers on the same plate as the entrée to alter the perception and make it full.
* Mintel, GNPD